Friday, April 06, 2007

Creatively Avoiding Creativity

Ok, so I said that one of my purposes for writing was to explore creativity. My creativity? Well, I can't really explore the creative process of someone else until they discover a way to plug me into someone else's brain. So, yes, I meant mine. And more specifically, since I am writing as the owner of a yarn store and the hostess of a fiber arts community, I mean my fiber arts creativity. Which is predominantly knitting. But I haven't really posted about that, now have I? And where to begin....

I am one of those "idea people". I have a million ideas. They just seem to bubble up as though I'm a bottle of effervescent water that is shaken before the lid is removed. This would be a grand thing if I had cast of thousands to hand these ideas off to for execution. Instead, I'm drowning in my own fountain. I struggle, and I mean really struggle, to find the balance between exploring the ideas before they are lost to me and sticking with a project long enough to see it to completion. I really, really, really want that cast of thousands! Ok, a hundred might be a good start.

While I wait for hordes of volunteers to recognize that I am the Trevi Fountain of creative ideas where rather than throw in coins you knit in order for your wishes to be granted - yes, I know, sarcasm is difficult to relay in this medium - I do try to work on what I can. I do actually finish a project now and again. But the more fertile ground is in UFO-land. Un-Finished Projects, that is. Gold on Hold. Designer's Tea. (Ok, now I'm dating myself!) I'm going to start posting now and again about what I am and am not actively working on. Hopefully, I'll figure out how to be a better photographer of knitted pieces, though. For now, I offer up this:

This is Louis' Baby Blanket. (It will be steeked and then backed. So, no, it's not a skirt.) I was using Jaeger Baby Merino with borders of Koigu. The plan is this: using the solid colors, create sets of 3 2-color bands in between larger symbolic motifs. I can not use the same colors together in the 2-color bands. I am randomly creating or choosing the patterns for those as I go. The larger motifs all contain symbols of long life, family bonding, etc. I stopped after the first large motif because I was very unhappy with the resulting fabric. My stranding is too tight and it is buckling the fabric. It needs to be pulled back. I made this realization right before I opened Circles. This will be a theme. I am committed to finishing this piece, though. The child that inspired it is now probably 5 years old. The family moved back to Germany and they had another child and we've been out of touch. But this will always be Louis' Baby Blanket even if it ends up as a wall hanging. Someday......

Flogging the Blogless

Ok, I'm not a frequent blogger, but I had hoped to be a bit more consistent than I've been. At this point, I'd be happy with a post once a month. It has taken me a while to realize that I don't blog for the same reasons that others do, necessarily. I'm sure there may be crossover in motivations, but I've recently come to terms with the fact that I'm not a "journaler". I've berated myself for this "lack of discipline" throughout my life.

Now, I'd like to say that I have a great appreciation for journaling. I'm very excited about something that the phenomena of blogs has to offer humanity: a large data bank of the details of women's lives and thinking. Archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and sociologists can likely all speak to the dearth of information available about how women have lived and experienced life throughout history. The advent of blogging offers future historians a more accurate, holistic snapshot of the human experience. I can imagine writings a century from now that begin with, "at the turn of the millenium, we have for the first time, records that help illuminate the female experience...." For this, I am extremely grateful. And yet, I am not of the nature to be one of the people who contributes to this profound effort. I need to work on forgiving myself and accepting that what I am doing is something different and needn't be as profound as all that.

So, what am I pursuing here? I realized after the post about pursuing the mundane, that the mundane is not what I am inclined to write about. For me, this exercise is for processing my meta-thoughts and experiences on leadership, business ownership, creativity, etc. Now, I could easily spend 100% of my time pondering these subjects and writing about them ad nauseum. But the reality is that I do have to pursue the mundane tasks that it takes to keep a life and a business moving along, so I must reign myself in and let these things come to the surface as they need to. Or when I am mysteriously compelled. So, I will try to be self-satisfied with the more organically random trips to Blogdom that I seem to be making. I will try not to flog myself for bloglessness. Perhaps then, I will actually have a more fluid relationship with the process. We'll see.

As far as the business progress is going, it's slow. Not without progress. I had hoped to have the application for selling co-op shares into The State in March, but the serial vacations of myself (imposed upon me by my daughter's school schedule) and the person with whom I'm working on this has delayed us. We WILL get this in by the end of April.

Meanwhile, we've been rearranging the space at Circles to reclaim a workable classroom. (We consolidated our space last fall and tried to use the playroom as a classroom, but it's not large enough and classes felt claustrophobic, especially for the instructor.) The re-design is happening in steps, as I have learned that I must do all big projects in bite-sized pieces. We're at a stage where we can try what we have, so I'm now working on establishing a new class schedule.

We also did a mini-launch of our Pattern Collaborative idea in February. (Though, I do deserve a flogging for not having figured out how to get useful reporting for this program, yet. I think we need to create another layer of complexity in our bookkeeping system. Ugh...) Our patterns and kits were well received at the event, but seem to be a non-item in our store. This doesn't surprise me, as our core customer base is not kit-oriented. Kits have never done well in our store. Our plan is to offer our Collaborative products on the internet as a way to broaden our income potential. Ok, this is another huge project. Setting up a good shopping cart that can grow with us and is manageable by us. Designing a snappy set of pattern templates, creating packaging for the kits and developing a PR program. While people tell me that it's easy to set up an online shopping cart, I feel that I'm stepping into a domain about which I know nothing and can, therefore, make unwise decisions that frustrate us down the road. So, I need assistance. Even getting good photos really requires some training or an experienced product photographer. Baby steps.......

These are some of the nuts and bolts of the business. What has been occupying my mind quite a bit lately is of a different nature. It has to do with the profound effects of gender bias in our culture. I've had some experiences lately in a venue outside of my business that I feel are calling to me. The subject of how women have been treated in the military and as writers on the internet have been in the greater cultural dialogue recently and have converged in my mind with these experiences I've had. I'm sorting through what it is I feel the need to articulate and act upon and how, if at all, it relates to my experiences as a hostess of a pre-dominantly female community. I've had some very destructive experiences in communities of women in my time and now with the community at Circles I have a completely different experience under my belt. So, I'm perusing whether there is something I have gleaned that could be useful to the wider cultural dialogue and whether this is also something that Circles is meant to be here for. I'm not ready to write more just yet, but it will be pouring out me soon, I'm sure.